Padres, Wizards extend deal through 2006

Any speculation about Fort Wayne switching affiliates came to an end today when the Wizards and San Diego Padres officials agreed to a two-year extension of their Player Development Contract.

Since becoming an affiliate with San Diego in 1999, the Wizards have produced several major league players, including five players who were promoted to the big league level during the 2004 season. Overall, 43 players who have reached the major leagues have appeared in a Fort Wayne uniform.

"This keeps us together with San Diego for 2005 and 2006," said Wizards General Manager Mike Nutter. "We're looking forward to more success on and off the field with the Padres organization during the next two years. The Padres have had a great partnership with the Wizards for four years."

In six years with the Padres - Cliff Bartosh (Cleveland Indians, 2004) and Oliver Perez (Pittsburgh Pirates), along with Sean Burroughs, Jake Peavy, Ben Howard, Clay Condrey, Eric Cyr, Dennis Tankersley, J.J. Trujillo, Freddy Guzman (2004), Justin Germano (2004), Jon Knott (2004) and Steve Watkins (2004) – all appeared in major league games.

Seven players on Baseball America's Top-10 Prospects for the Padres appeared with Fort Wayne, including Guzman, Howard and Knott, along with infielder Josh Barfield, right-hander David Pauley, outfielder Kennard Jones and right-hander Chris Oxspring.

In addition to the top-10 prospects, four of the top-12 picks by San Diego in this year's June Amateur Draft are with Fort Wayne. Outfielder Chris Kolkhorst (10th round) and right-handers Vern Sterry 8th round), Matt Varner (11th round) and Michael Ekstrom (12th round) are all making contributions for the current Wizards team.

The Wizards are also expected to have this year's first-round pick and first-overall selection in the 2004 Draft, infielder Matt Bush, in a Fort Wayne uniform next season.

"We are very pleased to be back in Fort Wayne for two more years," said Tye Waller, San Diego's Director of Player Development. "This is a great situation for the Padres and the Wizards. Everything that Fort Wayne has to offer is appealing for our players and staff that come there each season."

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